Florida Democrat House member Anna Eskamani was quick to politicize the mass shooting that took place at Robb Elementary school in Uvalde, Texas on Tuesday where reports indicate that 19 students and two teachers were killed in the shooting.
Eskamani tweeted out at 4:34 p.m. on Tuesday, “All these ‘pro-life’ politicians don’t seem to give a damn about our kids being shot in their own schools.”
A misleading CNN fact check related to the Parental Rights in Education bill is being used by some in the Florida statewide media to promote incomplete information related to Governor DeSantis rationale for the legislation.
The fact check – which was published last week – notes that “On several occasions since signing the bill into law, DeSantis has highlighted the story of a woman named January Littlejohn, a registered Republican, who says she was not fully consulted about the school’s gender-affirming plan for her child.”
CNN uses the fact that Ms. Littleljohn initially told school officials – in an email- “that she would not stop her child from using preferred pronouns or name of choice at school” as inconsistent with the DeSantis statement that the school did not get the mother’s consent to address the her daughter’s gender identity issues.
However, what the CNN analysis does not include is the fact that Leon County school officials went beyond Ms. Littlejohn’s initial consent- related to pronouns and name choice – and initiated an interview with their child as part of a “Transgender/Gender Nonconforming Student Support Plan.”
During the negotiations for the 2022-2023 Florida budget’s tax package, lawmakers included a provision that would include a diaper tax break in Florida. Diapers would become tax-free in Florida for one year starting July 1.
The effort was bipartisan in nature, but Florida Democrat lawmakers Sen. Lauren Book (D-Plantation) and Florida State Rep. Anna Eskamani (D-Orlando), were the ones who spearheaded the effort.
On Wednesday, Disney CEO Bob Chapek informed shareholders at the company’s annual meeting that Disney opposes the Parental Rights in Education legislation and that the actions by the Florida legislature could impact future political donations.
Critics of the bill – which passed the Senate and the House and awaits action by Governor DeSantis – have repeatedly mischaracterized provisions in the legislation while using the “Don’t Say Gay” moniker to rally opposition among progressives and the LGBTQ community.
Disney has been criticized in the national media and by elected officials in Florida.
Florida Representative Anna V. Eskamami, who represents parts of Orlando, called on “the Walt Disney Company to STOP donating to the campaigns of state lawmakers that sponsor anti-LGBTQ+bills, like the “Don’t Say Gay” bill…”
At the close of his prepared remarks to shareholders, Chapek said, “I’d like to take moment to address some concerns I’ve heard from many about the legislation impacting the LGBTQ+ community in Florida.”
As a proposal (SB 1024) moves through the Florida Legislature that would allow investor-owned utilities to pay less for electricity generated by residential rooftop solar, critics of the legislation and of investor-owned utilities have ignored the fact that many Florida municipal-managed electric utilities are already paying residential customers less for solar generated electricity.
Under current law, solar panel owners who have excess energy generated can sell it back to investor-owned utilities at the retail rate the utilities charge other customers. However, the proposal sponsored by Fleming Island Republican Sen. Jennifer Bradley, would allow investor-owned utilities to pay a cheaper price for roof-top solar generated electricity.
The bill’s supporters claim solar customers are being subsidized by other utility customers because they rely on the underlying electric grid — and its lines, maintenance and other infrastructure costs — when the panels don’t generate enough electricity.
The issue has become partisan as Democrats attack the bill and investor-owned utilities, who are frequent campaign donors to Republican candidates.
U.S. Representative and Democratic gubernatorial candidate Charlie Crist said the anti-solar legislation is just another example of how utilities rig the system against the people of Florida in favor of corporations, and “Tallahassee is marching on.” He said as governor would fight utility companies to prevent them from getting unfair rate increases and make it easier to install solar power for homeowners.
Florida Rep. Anna Eskamani has been a vocal critic of the the Parental Rights in Education bill, however – when given the opportunity – she refused to answer specific questions about the proposed legislation.
Eskamani told CNN that she “whole-heartedly opposes” the legislation, affirming that “it’s always appropriate to acknowledge that LGBTQ+ people and families exist, and any effort to erase them is rooted in homophobia and transphobia.”
Eskamani and other progressive leaders and organizations have labeled the proposal the “Don’t Say Gay” bill, based on a provision that prohibits a school district from encouraging classroom discussion about sexual orientation or gender identity in primary grade levels.
State Representative Carlos Guillermo-Smith (D-District 49), an openly LGBTQ Latino legislator, said, “We should and we are encouraging these types of conversations in our schools.”
However, the bill address a number of issues related to parental rights.
Amid a debate over parental rights in education legislation (HB 1557/SB 1834), a review of policies across several Florida school boards indicates there is inconsistent guidance related to parental rights and student confidentiality.
For example, recent reports about elementary school officials in Clay County engaging in the counseling of a student without notifying parents revealed competing views about parental rights within the school district.
Clay county school officials allegedly defended their actions by invoking “confidentiality rules” to justify not including the parents in the counseling sessions.
However, a lawsuit filed notes that the Clay County Public Schools written guidance expressly contradicts the use of “confidentiality rules.” An exhibit attached to the lawsuit notes that children do not have a confidentiality right and that school officials must obtain parental consent before guaranteeing confidentiality to a child.
The 2020 FBI tracking of hate crimes show that Florida hate crime incidents have decreased 23% from 2018 to 2020 while hate crimes in the United States have increased 15.5%. In addition, the state comparison data (2019) shows that Florida ranks 47 in hate crime incidents with 0.53 incidents per 100,000 population.The national rate of hate crimes per 100,000 population is 2.4.
The five states reporting the most incidents per 100,000 population were Washington (7.1), New Mexico (6.1), Massachusetts (5.7), New Jersey (5.4) and Vermont (5.2). The five states reporting the fewest number of incidents per 100,000 population were Maryland (0.3), Iowa (0.3), Arkansas (0.3), Pennsylvania (0.3), and Florida (0.5).
The FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Program serves as the national repository for crime data and is used to generate reliable information for use in law enforcement administration, operation, and management.
The data, which was updated and released in October 2021, shows that nationwide hate crime incidents have increased from 7,036 in 2018 to 7,103 in 2019 to 8,052 in 2020. Over the period from 2018-2020 hate crime incidents increased 14.5%.
During the debate over Florida’s Parental Rights legislation (HB 1557/ SB 1834), progressive politicians are ignoring issues in public schools and calling the proposal the “Don’t Say Gay” bill.
The bill addresses a number of concerns related to communications between school officials and students. The bill requires school officials to notify parents if issues arise related to a students mental, emotional physical well-being. In addition, the bill prohibits school officials from encouraging students to withhold information.
Issues related to these provisions are currently being litigated in two separate legal cases across Florida. For example, parents are suing the Clay County Schools Board for counseling their elementary school child related to gender without their knowledge. The parents became aware of the situation when their child tried to commit suicide. School officials allegedly defended their actions by invoking “confidentiality rules” to justify not including the parents in the counseling sessions.
After the Florida Capital Star uncovered the Florida Department of Education (FDOE) removed links and resources to LGBT advocacy groups, notable Florida progressives chimed in to criticize the FDOE and the Gov. Ron DeSantis administration.
Two progressive Florida Democrats filed legislation to require all of Florida’s energy to be generated by renewable energy by 2040. State Sen. Lori Berman (D-FL-32) and State Rep. Anna Eskamani (D-FL-47) filed SB 366 and HB 81, respectively.
Each bill contains language including “prohibiting the drilling or exploration for, or production of, oil, gas, or other petroleum products” and that the state has to put together a plan to “generate 100 percent renewable energy.”
Florida’s Republican Party is close to catching Florida’s Democrats in terms of voter registrations. The Democrat Party of Florida once held a 700,000-voter registration advantage, and now only holds approximately a 23,000-voter advantage.
According to POLITICO Florida, Florida’s Democrats have known about it for years, but little could be done to maintain their once large margin.
Governor DeSantis held three ceremonies in the state of Florida Tuesday, awarding first responders and educators with $1,000 bonuses from the for their hard work and dedication through the pandemic.
In addition to first responders’ work through the pandemic, DeSantis’ first ceremony was held in Surfside for search-and-rescue task force members who helped in the aftermath of the Champlain Tower collapse. The last two ceremonies were in Jacksonville and Pensacola respectively.
A political committee focused on voting registration, established by Florida Democratic Representative Anna Eskamani, will add nine paid staff members for the upcoming 2022 election.
The goal of the committee, known as People Power of Florida, is to register 25,000 new voters before November 2022, in accordance to Eskamani’s voter registration training program she announced last week.
One day after Governor DeSantis signed a bill related to ballot initiatives, a federal lawsuit was filed on Saturday seeking to have the new law ruled invalid.
The new law limits individual contributions to groups promoting ballot initiatives to $3,000. The limit is in effect until the Florida Supreme Court approves the placement of an initiative on the ballot. In Florida, voters can change the constitution by getting proposals approved for the ballot and then receiving over 60-percent of support during an election.
Republicans who supported the legislation, argued it was needed to keep special interest money from influencing the initiatives that voters see on the ballot.
Florida State Rep. Anna Eskamani (D-47) announced on Thursday she is not running for governor and will run for reelection in her state house district.
Eskamani’s name had been thrown around as a potential challenger to Governor Ron DeSantis, and she did consider launching a bid, but opted to seek reelection.
“Florida needs strong Democrats in the State Legislature to fight for the needs of everyday people and I’m damn proud to be one of them,” Eskamani said. “That’s why after a lot of community conversations and self-reflection I’m running for re-election to continue serving my hometown in the Florida House.”
Despite the fact that every American over the age of 15 is eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine, Florida’s Democrats are not ready to return to normal.
Instead, they are bashing Gov. Ron DeSantis (R), who Monday signed an executive order banning local governments from requiring mask mandates.